Boucher Trail and Palomar Mountain Loop

MODERATE 46 reviews

Boucher Trail and Palomar Mountain Loop is a 8.9 mile loop trail located near Aguanga, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
8.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1535 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

hiking

nature trips

off road driving

trail running

walking

forest

views

wildlife

over grown

no dogs

$8 parking fee The trail is uphill until you reach Boucher Lookout Tower. It breaks at the tower which contains a picnic area, an observation deck, restroom and water. Boucher Trail picks up again on the other side of the lookout tower (trail marked) and heads downhill for quite a ways. Be warned that what goes down must eventually come up. The trail ends at Nate Harrison Grade Road. Across the road you'll see Adams Trail. An alternative to Nate Harrison Grade road would be to take Boucher Road from the lookout tower. This would cut out a significant part of Boucher trail but would mean less uphill walking on the way back.

hiking
1 month ago

very pretty hiking area

trail running
2 months ago

A very nice hike.
Parking is $10, must be cash.
I parked just past where you pay for day use on the left in the Silvercrest Picnic Area. Except the beginning the in-App map was very helpful.
From the picnic area there is a short trail at the bathroom to the road then walk left along the road and the Boucher trail is between the separated up & down roads to the Boucher fire overlook.
My hunch is it is slightly longer around 10-11 miles, but I got off trail slightly once/twice using a paper map before backtracked or pulling out the phone app.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Lot of shade on the trails but flys and mosquitoes are unbearable. Strongly suggest to use Insect repellent when hiking in this area.

hiking
5 months ago

Ordinarily, this is one of my favorite hikes. I have rated this a 5-star in the past. However, I'm very disappointed with the maintenance and conditions of the Boucher trail. The trail is now severely over grown and difficult to hike. The brush completely covers the trail in many spots. You have to crawl on you hands and knees to get thru many different spots. In some areas on the N side of the mountain the trail is actually giving way to erosion. The park is also flush with poison oak. This makes hiking on your hands and knees especially difficult.
This trail is in severe need of maintenance.

5 months ago

Beautiful trail but many parts are way overgrown and hard to avoid all the poison oak. But easily one of my favorites.

hiking
7 months ago

Absolutely love this hike. Very nice variety of stunning scenery. We usually see deer and wild turkeys running around in addition to all the other smaller forest creatures. A mid-day picnic at Doane's Pond is a nice treat. The ducklings just recently hatched and swimming about with their moms. Be cautious because huge beds of poison oak has blossomed and we usually get a little exposure, but not enough to spoil the day.

8 months ago

The trail was well maintained and never hard. There are some parts where the incline is heavier, which is the only reason to rate as moderate. The wow comes from the incredible array of different terrains and views. We went from walking in the clouds in desolate landscape with the charred remains of dead trees sticking out like bones, to strolling through the meadow, to walking through dense forrest. Did not get the view to the ocean because of the clouds, but stunning beauty nonetheless. Check for ticks, we got bit. Don't forget cash for parking and park fee.

9 months ago

Trail was great, not too difficult. The best part was all the cool trees . The part I didn't like was the part of the French trail where it goes to a resting spot between 2 waterfalls was closed and they could of had a sign or could of said something when we checked in because it was 5 miles into the hike.

11 months ago

Great trail. I'd rate it mostly easy with a couple sections of moderate. it was 45° when I started which was perfect. I saw zero other hikers which made it even better. just like another reviewer stated, this route is a combo of about 5 different trails, all well marked. grand vistas, meadows, forest. this one has it all. the mountains to the Northeast were all snow covered. Also, I saw 10 deer on the hike. The last group was 7 deer and they could care less I was there. I was about 30 feet away from them for 10 minutes. Very enjoyable day.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

I don't know yet because I am about to go there you hurrr

hiking
Saturday, September 10, 2016

I really enjoyed this trail, definitely moderate when connected to other trails in the park. Mostly down hill, be sure to stop and gaze out over the view point fire watch tower.

hiking
Sunday, September 04, 2016

Stunning views and nice cardio workout! You'll need to be in moderately good shape for this trail. Be sure to bring snacks, lots of water and take breaks often. The trail path displayed in AllTrails is incorrect and is actually several trails, not just Boucher. Pick up a map at the Ranger station entering the park.

Directions to trailhead: Take 76 to S Grade Rd (S6), Turn left x2 onto State Park Rd (S7), follow it till it ends at Palomar Mountain State Park. Pay $8 fee at the Ranger station located at the gate, Park in the picnic area right past the Ranger station on the left. Walk down the road heading West, past the employee residence you'll see a split in the road and the trail head clearly marked.

The trail is uphill until you reach Boucher Lookout Tower. It breaks at the tower which contains a picnic area, an observation deck, restroom and water. We were invited up by the Ranger (unexpected) and the view was amazing. The volunteer Ranger told us all about his equipment, job and filled us in on some history. Two thumbs up for cool Rangers!

Boucher Trail picks up again on the other side of the lookout tower (trail marked) and heads downhill for quite a ways. Be warned that what goes down must eventually come up. The trail ends at Nate Harrison Grade Road. Across the road you'll see Adams Trail. We elected to travel back to the car and relocate to Doane Pond based on the Rangers advice that continuing on Adams Trail will end with a huge uphill trek back to the parking location. Nate Harrison Grade road was mostly an uphill walk all the way back.

An alternative to Nate Harrison Grade road would be to take Boucher Road from the lookout tower. This would cut out a significant part of Boucher trail but would mean less uphill walking on the way back.

Make sure you can easily identify Poison Ivy and Oak before heading to Palomar Mountain. I only spotted a little on the trails but it's growing all over the road sides and can be brushed against if you don't pay attention.

hiking
Thursday, June 09, 2016

The day I did this we only hiked out to the old building and back. Didn't pay any attention to the length or time. What we did was very nice. I do remember hearing an odd scary sound in the distance while we were just a few yards from the parking lot. Not at all crowded during week and in the spring.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fun well- marked trail with clear paths. Has some difficult areas but doable for 50+ crowd. Took 3:20 to complete the 6.8 mile portion, (didn't do the nature trail). Fair amount of poison ivy in places. Good workout.

hiking
Saturday, April 23, 2016

Great hike and amazing views. The trails intersect and take you through forest and meadows. Well maintained and well marked. Not crowded. Great hike and one that we will definitely do again.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

No dogs on trails in California state parks. Just tame mule deer that people feed and have no natural predators.

hiking
Tuesday, January 19, 2016

This is a beautiful trail that is moderate in difficulty and passes through a variety of different landscapes from oak groves to grassy meadows. This time of year there is some snow on the ground so the trail can get mushy and icy in the lower spots. Overall, its not very rocky so the hiking is easier but the the elevation change is pretty significant along the whole trail. Best bet is to park either at the pond and start walking from there or to park in the parking lot to the left just past the pay station. Head up to boucher hill for a spectacular view to the west. Saw plenty of birds and a few deer.

hiking
Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Beautiful trails! I hiked this last week and the weather was perfect! After entering the Palomar Mountain State Park I parked in south parking lot just past the fee box ($8) at the entrance. The 4x4 post trail head markers were not easy to find so I walked back to the entrance and grabbed a trail map. I found the trails maintained well and nothing very difficult to navigate.

hiking
Thursday, October 01, 2015

Hiked up to historic fire lookout tower via Boucher Hill trail from the group camp ground in the late afternoon to catch the sunset . Great views even with a little haze.

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